In 1999, when I embarked on my new life as a mature student, we were given a creative writing assignment. It was a challenge I relished, and I had learned one of the first rules of 'how to become a writer' - that is, write about something you know.
I had always had an interest in the story of the Titanic, probably stemming back to that old black and white movie starring Kenneth More. My obsession led me to abandon the 3 men in my life for the day, and take myself off to gawp in fascination at the ghoulish exhibits at the Titanic Exhibition that was held in Greenwich. My little day of rebellion, planted the seeds of the story that was to become my monologue, Constance.
Among my hundreds of rejection letters, was a wonderful reply from Sinclair Mathieson, the editor of People's Friend, who took the time to tell me how much he enjoyed my story, but it was 'too political' for their genre. However, his kind words, 'its a story that deserves a wide audience', gave me the confidence to pursue it. An Edwardian drama, it is more downstairs, than upstairs.
In 2000, it was picked up immediately by Paul Kent, Head of Programmes at Oneword Radio, a former BBC editor, who 'discovered' the wonderful writer, Bill Bryson. Paul, turned it into a wonderful play for the radio, and it was performed, by Charlie Fane, and broadcast on Christmas Day, as an alternative to the Cameron, Titanic film. It was nominated for a Sony Award and helped Oneward in achieving a Sony Award as Radio Station of the Year in 2001. Paul, immediately commissioned 4 more.
I have decided to publish it now, as a tribute to my beloved Dad, who never stopped believing in me and my madcap dreams. The CD of Constance, was on his bedside table, when he passed away - Saturday Night Fever was inside the CD player, I don't know why, but that made me smile. The audio version of Constance will be available within a few days. The Kindle is available now. The story is long enough to absorb you, but short enough to prevent mould growing on your washing up.
If you are a fan of Upstairs Downstairs, and Downtown Abbey, you will love (or hate) this story.